For Immediate Release - April 30, 2007

DIVISION OF BANKS TO SEEK CASE-BY-CASE DELAY ON FORECLOSURES

Ongoing response designed to provide immediate help for homeowners in crisis

BOSTON- Monday, April 30, 2007 - In an ongoing response to the state's foreclosure crisis, Governor Deval Patrick today directed Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes to seek delays from mortgage lenders, on a case-by-case basis, for any Massachusetts homeowner who has filed a complaint with the Division of Banks as part of their consumer assistance outreach efforts.

"This action will provide relief to the people who need it the most - the individuals and families who find themselves in the late stages of a personal financial crisis," said Governor Patrick. "All we seek is for individuals and families to have a little time to work with lenders and non-profits toward a solution that might just save their homes."

"As my office continues to combat predatory lending practices, I am very concerned about the impact on homeowners of the current subprime mortgage crisis," said Attorney General Martha Coakley. "I look forward to working with the Governor, the Division of Banks, the Legislature and others to try to provide relief to individuals and families who face the daunting threat of foreclosure."

The Division of Banks has also been instructed to review complaints and refer homeowners to reputable homeownership counseling firms. Additionally, Patrick has called on lenders to utilize this forbearance period to work in good faith with homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments.

"The Division of Banks is fully prepared to work with homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments and risk losing their homes," said Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes. "It is critically important that folks reach out to us at the first signs of trouble so that we can provide them with as much direction and assistance as possible."

While solutions may not be possible in all circumstances, the Governor is asking that mortgage lenders consider modifying the terms of their loans to assist borrowers to move from adjustable rate mortgages into fixed rate loans. These measures and other recently announced initiatives that will be featured in forthcoming legislation are designed to ensure that additional homeowners do not find themselves in the same predicament that too many of their fellow homeowners do now.

As part of its continuing and multi-faceted response, the Patrick Administration has identified and contacted housing agencies from across the state to assist distressed homeowners. The list of agencies is available at http://www.mass.gov/dhcd/.

"The Administration's action plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure includes comprehensive services available through numerous non-profit housing agencies located throughout the Commonwealth," said Housing and Community Development undersecretary Tina Brooks. "In particular, our network of nine regional Housing Consumer Education Centers can be very helpful in assisting first-time homebuyers with foreclosure counseling as well as down payment and closing cost assistance."

Additionally, the Division of Banks has extended the hours of its mortgage hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Homeowners are urged to call the Division at 1-800-495-BANK (2265) and can file a consumer complaint form available at www.mass.gov/consumer.

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